Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Dec. 24, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
The Gaza war will continue for “however long it takes,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday night.
Speaking during a Cabinet meeting at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv on Sunday, the premier said, “Last night, I spoke again with President Biden. I appreciate the steadfast U.S. position—which supports our war effort—in the U.N. Security Council. I told President Biden yesterday that we will fight until absolute victory—however long that takes. The U.S. understands this.”
The prime minister denied “erroneous reports” claiming the U.S. had prevented Israel from taking action against other hostile entities in the region. (The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Biden blocked Israel from attacking Hezbollah on Oct. 11, four days after the Hamas attack on the northwestern Negev.)
“Our decisions in the war are based on our operational considerations, and I will not expand further. They are not dictated by external pressure. The decision on how to use our forces is an independent decision of the IDF and nobody else,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu referred to the 14 IDF troops killed in action this weekend, including 10 on Saturday: “This is a difficult morning, after a very difficult day of fighting in Gaza. On behalf of all members of the government and the entire people of Israel, I would like to send condolences to the families of our heroic soldiers.”
He said IDF soldiers have killed “many thousands of terrorists” and will continue to grind away at the Hamas terrorist group until it is destroyed, the hostages are returned and Gaza “will never again constitute a threat to the State of Israel.”